A searing trip into the recent past and into one man’s inner landscape.

THE INTERIM

An embittered German writer revisits his life in this haunting novel.

Set in the waning years of a divided Germany, Hilbig’s book follows the life of C., a successful writer from East Germany with a penchant for drinking too much. The connections between East and West Germany form a substantial part of the novel, with C. crossing back and forth between the two and finding himself at home in neither. “C. was not one of the people for whom the West was the redemptive goal of all their strivings,” writes Hilbig. C.’s fraught relationship with his girlfriend, Hedda, haunts him as he moves between the two Germanys. The specificity of this novel’s time and place and C.’s haunted sense of his own failings help make it stand out. That this is a book centered around an occasionally lascivious male writer with occasional musings on his life’s connections to fiction could, in the hands of a different writer and translator, be dissonant. In this case, though, they’re illustrative, offering a better sense of C.'s alienation. Part of that is due to the sting of Hilbig’s words in Cole’s translation: C.’s pondering that he “felt like a character in a novel who’d been deserted by his creator,” for instance. And there’s a sense of despair that runs throughout the book—including C.’s own penchant for self-destructiveness, the reader’s knowledge that C.’s national status quo is about to be upended, and the recurring references to the Chernobyl disaster. The end result is unexpectedly gripping—an unconventional inquiry into one man's morals and sense of home.

A searing trip into the recent past and into one man’s inner landscape.

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-949641-23-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Two Lines Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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A wistfully nostalgic look at endings, beginnings, and loving the people who will always have your back.

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HAPPY PLACE

Exes pretend they’re still together for the sake of their friends on their annual summer vacation.

Wyn Connor and Harriet Kilpatrick were the perfect couple—until Wyn dumped Harriet for reasons she still doesn’t fully understand. They’ve been part of the same boisterous friend group since college, and they know that their breakup will devastate the others and make things more than a little awkward. So they keep it a secret from their friends and families—in fact, Harriet barely even admits it to herself, focusing instead on her grueling hours as a surgical resident. She’s ready for a vacation at her happy place—the Maine cottage she and her friends visit every summer. But (surprise!) Wyn is there too, and he and Harriet have to share a (very romantic) room and a bed. Telling the truth about their breakup is out of the question, because the cottage is up for sale, and this is the group’s last hurrah. Determined to make sure everyone has the perfect last trip, Harriet and Wyn resolve to fake their relationship for the week. The problem with this plan, of course, is that Harriet still has major feelings for Wyn—feelings that only get stronger as they pretend to be blissfully in love. As always, Henry’s dialogue is sparkling and the banter between characters is snappy and hilarious. Wyn and Harriet’s relationship, shown both in the past and the present, feels achingly real. Their breakup, as well as their complicated relationships with their own families, adds a twinge of melancholy, as do the relatable growing pains of a group of friends whose lives are taking them in different directions.

A wistfully nostalgic look at endings, beginnings, and loving the people who will always have your back.

Pub Date: April 25, 2023

ISBN: 9780593441275

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023

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Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

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IT STARTS WITH US

The sequel to It Ends With Us (2016) shows the aftermath of domestic violence through the eyes of a single mother.

Lily Bloom is still running a flower shop; her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid, is still a surgeon. But now they’re co-parenting a daughter, Emerson, who's almost a year old. Lily won’t send Emerson to her father’s house overnight until she’s old enough to talk—“So she can tell me if something happens”—but she doesn’t want to fight for full custody lest it become an expensive legal drama or, worse, a physical fight. When Lily runs into Atlas Corrigan, a childhood friend who also came from an abusive family, she hopes their friendship can blossom into love. (For new readers, their history unfolds in heartfelt diary entries that Lily addresses to Finding Nemo star Ellen DeGeneres as she considers how Atlas was a calming presence during her turbulent childhood.) Atlas, who is single and running a restaurant, feels the same way. But even though she’s divorced, Lily isn’t exactly free. Behind Ryle’s veneer of civility are his jealousy and resentment. Lily has to plan her dates carefully to avoid a confrontation. Meanwhile, Atlas’ mother returns with shocking news. In between, Lily and Atlas steal away for romantic moments that are even sweeter for their authenticity as Lily struggles with child care, breastfeeding, and running a business while trying to find time for herself.

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-668-00122-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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